Heaven 17

Pleasure One

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This was somewhat of a disappoint following 1986's brilliant How Men Are. That is not to say that this a bad album. Glenn Gregory, Ian Craig-Marsh, and Martyn Ware (the core of Heaven 17) attempted to make some significant changes on this album. They added a substantial amount of live musicians and tried to make a danceable political album, not unlike PiL, and on some levels they are successful. Perhaps the problem with this album is the fact that, with all of the tight session musicians, it has a very slick sound that, up to this point, had not been heard on a Heaven 17 album. The groove and strong melodies are present, as is Gregory's usual stunning, deadpan vocals. Some of the songs are among their best, including the wonderful "Trouble" and the opening track, "Contenders." The guitar work in "Trouble" makes the song itself. But other songs are overambitious and tedious, such as "Low Society" and "Red." The ideas are there, but the songs are not executed to their fullest. Heaven 17 have nothing to be ashamed of, and fans of big '80s sound will find things of interest here. This album also serves as the bridge between the Heaven 17 of the old and the slick Heaven 17 of the '90s.

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